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AITSL is funded by the Australian Government

Australian Professional
Standard for Principals
and the Leadership Profiles

2014 Education Services Australia as the legal entity for the Standing Council on School Education and Early
Childhood (SCSEEC) now the Education Council.
Updated June 2015
ISBN: 978-1-925192-13-1
Education Services Australia, as the legal entity for the Education Council, owns copyright in this publication. This
publication or any part of it may be used freely only for non-profit education purposes provided the source is clearly
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Address inquiries regarding copyright to Education Council Secretariat, PO Box 202, Carlton South, VIC 3053, Australia

High-performing principals
are not just born, but can be made.
Linda Darling-Hammond

Australian Professional Standard for Principals and the Leadership Profiles

Australian Professional Standard for Principals and the Leadership Profiles

Introduction

Since 2011, the Australian Professional Standard for Principals (the


Standard) has provided a public statement setting out what school
principals are expected to know, understand and do to succeed in
their work. The Standard is an integrated model that recognises three
Leadership Requirements that a principal draws upon, within five areas
of Professional Practice.
The Leadership Profiles (the Profiles) have since been developed
and validated by the profession to describe each of the Leadership
Requirements and Professional Practices in more detail.
The Profiles, developed directly from the Standard, are presented as a set
of leadership actions that effective principals implement as they progress
to higher levels of proficiency. Principals and aspiring principals can use
the Profiles to help them grow and develop as school leaders.
The most effective leaders see learning as central to their professional
lives. This document, the Australian Professional Standard for Principals and
the Leadership Profiles, guides school leaders on their learning pathway.
It will empower school leaders across the country to develop and support
teaching that maximises impact on student learning.

Australian Professional Standard for Principals and the Leadership Profiles

Purpose

The Standard and the more detailed Profiles create and promote a shared
vision, clarity of understanding and a common language around effective
and high-impact school leadership. They draw on effective leadership
practice both locally and internationally and are informed by research into
what makes great principals.

The Australian Professional Standard for Principals


The Standard sets out what principals are expected to know, understand
and do to succeed in their work and ensure their leadership has a
positive impact. It takes full account of the crucial contribution made by
principals in:
raising student achievement at all levels and all stages
promoting equity and excellence
creating and sustaining the conditions under which quality teaching and
learning thrive
influencing, developing and delivering on community expectations and
government policy
contributing to the development of a twenty-first century education
system at local, national and international levels.
Research and a substantial, evolving body of knowledge inform the
Leadership Requirements and the Professional Practices that are at the
core of the Standard and show that:
effective leaders understand their impact
leadership must be contextualised, learning-centred and responsive to
the diverse nature of Australias schools
effective leadership is distributed and collaborative, with teams led by
the principal working together to accomplish the vision and aims of the
school
the practices and capabilities of leaders evolve as they move through
their careers
almost all successful leaders draw on the same repertoire of core
leadership practices and behaviours, with some key personal qualities
and capabilities explaining the significant variation in leadership
effectiveness.

Australian Professional Standard for Principals and the Leadership Profiles

The Leadership Profiles


The Profiles build upon the Standard by describing the Leadership
Requirements and Professional Practices of principals in greater detail. The
Profiles are presented as leadership actions that principals implement on
their pathway to higher levels of proficiency. Principals can use the Profiles
as a guide to become a better leader.
In this way, the Profiles provide a comprehensive developmental framework
for current and aspiring principals.
The Profiles help aspirants, current principals and those who support them
by:
promoting learning and growth
The Profiles are designed to help understand practice and impact
in relation to context as well as for planning the next stage of
development. The progressive statements that make up the Profiles
enable principals to review, reflect, learn and grow.
acknowledging the dynamic nature of school leadership
All successful principals draw on a repertoire of practices performed
consistently well. The way leadership practices are applied changes
according to career stage, capability and context. The Profiles allow
principals to review their current practices, recognise their strengths
and focus effort where development is most needed.

Australian Professional Standard for Principals and the Leadership Profiles

The crucial role of the principal

Principals are responsible


and accountable for the
development of children and
young people so that they can
become successful learners,
confident creative individuals
and active informed citizens.

The role of the principal of a school in the twenty-first century is one


of the most exciting and significant undertaken by any person in our
society. Principals help to create the future. Principals are responsible and
accountable for the development of children and young people so that they
can become successful learners, confident creative individuals and active
informed citizens 1.
They embody the power of education to make a difference to the lives of
individuals and to society, now and in the future.
Principals are the leading educational professionals in the school. They
inspire students, staff and members of the community to continuously
enhance the learning of all and they continually strive to understand and
improve their impact.
Principals network and collaborate with a wide range of people to secure
the best possible learning outcomes and wellbeing of all students. They
are skilled at establishing and maintaining professional relationships and
structures.
Principals are able to embrace uncertain, complex and challenging
contexts and work with others to seek creative and innovative solutions that
support quality outcomes for all.

The principal in context


The principal works in a complex, challenging and changing environment,
leading and managing the school of today, ever-conscious of the needs of
tomorrow.

Uniqueness of each school within its community


All schools sit within their own distinct community. Their local ethos, culture,
history, vision and values influence the way in which opportunity to excel is
provided to all students.

1. The Melbourne Declaration on


Educational Goals for Young
Australians (December 2008)

Australian Professional Standard for Principals and the Leadership Profiles

Inclusive Australia
All principals have the responsibility to work with members of the school
community to ensure a knowledge and understanding of the traditional
rights, beliefs and culture of Australias Indigenous peoples.
All students in all communities, including Indigenous, multi-cultural and
multi-faith communities, across metropolitan, rural, regional and remote
Australia, have the right to an education that ensures they become creative,
confident, active, informed learners and citizens. This same right extends to
students at risk and those of differing needs and abilities.

Global economy and society


The world is rapidly changing with people, economies and environments
becoming increasingly interconnected and interdependent.
Education has a central and critical role to develop in all individuals the
knowledge, understanding, skills and attributes to be successful citizens.
The interplay between the local, national and international perspectives is
the context in which the principal works.

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Australian Professional Standard for Principals and the Leadership Profiles

How to learn and change as a leader

A critical determinant of
the success of the school is
the quality of its principal.
Learning to lead is at the heart
of a principals daily practice
and great leaders never stop
learning.

Principals acquire leadership capabilities in many ways, both formal and


informal. Importantly, they learn by leading, reflecting on their practice and
inviting feedback from others. Principals need to have a clear awareness of
their own strengths and development needs, and model the importance of
investing time in professional learning.
Learning leaders challenge the status quo and seek continuous
improvement. They are knowledgeable about and engage in research, and
encourage others to do the same. They fuse learning and development
with daily professional practice.
Learning leaders:
are driven by the desire to see every student in their school excel
have high aspirations for learning that inspire staff, students and the
community
establish an environment that provides opportunities for all staff to learn
and improve together
are constantly reflecting on their own leadership and impact.

Learning leaders and the Leadership Profiles


The Profiles are designed to guide reflection on current practice and
enable users to turn daily experience into leadership insights. They will
help leaders gain a deeper understanding of their leadership strengths
and focus on their next stage of development. The Profiles promote inquiry
and the use of evidence by encouraging leaders to ask often: Whats
happening here and why? What impact am I having? How can I become
more effective?

Learning for change


Using the Profiles to become a better leader requires changes to
behaviour. Understanding the complexity of achieving behaviour change
is important. Familiarity with the general principles of behaviour change
will help school leaders as they strive to advance their learning and
development.
The behaviour change model described on the following page outlines
the steps and stages to accomplish behaviour change. However, it is
acknowledged that movement along the continuum is rarely straightforward
and linear.

Australian Professional Standard for Principals and the Leadership Profiles

Model of behaviour change


1
Awareness

2
Attitude

Knowledge

Action

5
Behaviour change

Gaining
awareness

Gaining an awareness of the personal benefits associated with making


a change is the vital first step towards changing behaviour. The Profiles
provide a detailed description of the principal role, enabling school leaders
to develop increased awareness and knowledge of the areas in which they
could change to improve their leadership effectiveness.

Strengthening
attitude

At the next stage, an individuals attitude towards change plays an


important role in influencing the likelihood of a change in behaviour.
Attitudes and confidence to change determine the will to change. The
stronger the intention, the more likely it is that change will occur.

Building
knowledge

Effectively building knowledge about how to understand, prepare for and


take the next steps towards achieving a desired change increases the
likelihood of the change occurring. Strategies for school leaders to build
this knowledge should focus on understanding the nature of the desired
change, reducing the barriers and blockers, considering how to manage
the consequences of the change, and developing a plan of action.

Taking action

At this stage, an individual is required to take action to first perform and


then maintain the change. This requires significant effort and persistence.
By drawing on trusted relationships and networks, gaining positive support
and reflecting on progress, a school leader can improve and sustain
attempts at behaviour change and maintain the determination to continue.

Achieving
behaviour change

Behaviour change occurs when the action eventually becomes automatic.


At this stage the desired outcomes have been achieved and school
leaders will see that their capabilities have grown. Practice is essential to
maintaining the change.

Australian Professional Standard for Principals and the Leadership Profiles

The Australian Professional Standard


for Principals

The Standard gives expression to the leadership, educational and


management requirements and practices of principals. The Standard is an
integrated model that recognises all good leaders share common qualities
and capabilities, which are expressed as three Leadership Requirements.
Principals draw upon these three Leadership Requirements within five
areas of Professional Practice.
The Standard acknowledges the challenging and changing context in
which principals work and the diverse settings and variety of situations
which they face on a day-to-day basis. The Standard provides a model
against which principals can match their knowledge, qualities, experiences
and skills to determine their strengths and areas for development. It is
Standard rather than Standards, as it is integrated by nature, reflecting
the complexity of the role and shared visions.
The Standard is applicable to principals irrespective of context or
experience. What will vary is the emphasis given to particular elements of
the Standard as principals respond to context, capability and career stage.
The Standard is based on three Leadership Requirements:
Vision and values
Knowledge and understanding
Personal qualities, social and interpersonal skills2.
These requirements are enacted through the following five key Professional
Practices:
Leading teaching and learning
Developing self and others
Leading improvement, innovation and change
Leading the management of the school
Engaging and working with the community.

2. Leadership requirements in other


standards and the literature may be
expressed as capabilities

10

Australian Professional Standard for Principals and the Leadership Profiles

The Australian Professional Standard


for Principals

The Standard for principals


Leadership Requirements
Vision and
values

Professional
Practices

Knowledge
and
understanding

Personal
qualities,
social and
interpersonal
skills

High quality
learning,
teaching
and
schooling

Successful
learners,
confident
creative
individuals
and active
informed
citizens*

Leading teaching and learning


Developing self and others
Leading improvement, innovation and change
Leading the management of the school
Engaging and working with the community

Leadership context: school, local area, wider community, Australian, global.

The Standard details the Leadership Requirements and Professional


Practices of principals separately. It is important to emphasise they are
always fully interdependent, integrated and with no hierarchy implied.
These requirements and practices will be reflected in the individual
leadership contexts in which different principals work.
Although contexts differ, in all professions there are particular leadership
expectations for those in senior roles. For those preparing to take up the
role of principal, as well as current principals, it is important to consider
ways of engaging with and developing an understanding of those
expectations through the Leadership Requirements and Professional
Practices of the Standard.

*The Melbourne Declaration on


Educational Goals for Young
Australians (December 2008)

Australian Professional Standard for Principals and the Leadership Profiles

11

The Leadership Profiles

The Profiles build upon the Standard by describing each of its Professional
Practices and Leadership Requirements in more detail. The Profiles are
presented as leadership actions that improve student learning and support
excellent teaching practices.
They recognise the important factors of career stage, capability and
context, and the influence these factors have on leadership actions.

How are the Profiles organised?


The Profiles are a set of statements validated by the profession that
describe the leadership actions of principals as they progress to higher
levels of proficiency.
The set of statements are arranged for principals to view through
three leadership lenses the Professional Practices lens (linked to the
Standards five Professional Practices), the Leadership Requirements
lens (linked to the Standards three Leadership Requirements) and a third
lens, the Leadership Emphasis lens (which focuses on broader leadership
contexts that principals deal with). The following diagram illustrates each
lens and its related focuses. The next section of the document describes
the Profiles linked to each lens.

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Systemic

Leadership Requirements lens

Knowledge and
understanding

Personal qualities, social


and interpersonal skills

Focuses
The leadership lenses, Professional Practices, Leadership Requirements and
Leadership Emphasis, and the focuses linked to each lens.

12

Australian Professional Standard for Principals and the Leadership Profiles

Focuses

is
as
ph

Vision
and values

Em

Engaging and working


with the community

Relational

hip

Leading the management


of the school

ers

Leading improvement,
innovation and change

Operational

ad

Developing self
and others

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Leading teaching
and learning

Leading teaching and learning


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Pra
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ion

Leading the management of the school


Strategic

Pro
fes
s

Engaging and working with the community

Systemic

Leadership Requirements lens

Vision
and values

Knowledge and
understanding

The Professional Practices lens organises the set of statements to form


Profiles that describe the Standards five Professional Practices at
increasing levels of proficiency.

Personal qualities, social


and interpersonal skills

Focuses

Leadership Requirements lens


Focuses:

es
tic
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fes

Pro

len
Knowledge and
understanding

Knowledge and understanding

Systemic

The Leadership Requirements lens organises the same set of statements


to form Profiles that describe the Standards three Leadership
Requirements at increasing levels of proficiency.

Leadership Requirements lens

Vision
and values

Vision and values


Personal qualities, social and interpersonal skills

is

Engaging and working


with the community

Strategic

as

na

ph

lP

Em

rac

hip

Leading the management


of the school

Relational

Focuses

ers

Leading improvement,
innovation and change

Operational

ad

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Leading teaching
and learning
Developing self
and others

Focuses

Relational

len

Engaging and working


with the community

Leading improvement, innovation and change

is
as

Leading the management


of the school

Operational

ph
Em

Leading improvement,
innovation and change

Developing self and others

ip

Focuses

Developing self
and others

h
ers
ad
Le

en
s

Leading teaching
and learning

Le

Focuses

Professional Practices lens


Focuses:

Personal qualities, social


and interpersonal skills

Focuses

Leadership Emphasis lens


Focuses:
Operational
Relational
Strategic

en
sl
ce
cti
sio
na
l

Pra

Systemic

Pro

len

fes

sis

Strategic

Systemic

Leadership Requirements lens

Knowledge and
understanding

Focuses

Personal qualities, social


and interpersonal skills

Focuses

a
ph

Vision
and values

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Relational

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anagement
chool

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ovement,
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Operational

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aching
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The Leadership Emphasis lens organises the same set of statements into
four focuses. Because a school leaders actions are contingent on the
context in which they operate, these statements describe the emphasis
and do not form a progressive Profile.
Each focus describes a principals actions as they lead with an operational,
relational, strategic or systemic emphasis. The emphasis a principal
chooses to apply in their leadership practice reflects their career stage,
capability and context.

Go online to explore the Leadership Profiles:


use the Interactive Leadership Profiles to view and download the Profiles through the three leadership lenses
view and save recommended resources and tools aligned to the Profiles that can support your professional growth
complete the Self-Assessment Tool, then use the planning tool to identify opportunities for growth using the Profiles.
Visit aitsl.edu.au/leadership-profiles to get started.
Australian Professional Standard for Principals and the Leadership Profiles

13

The Standards five Professional


Practices and their Profiles

cti
ce
Pra
sio
na
l

a
ph

Pro
fes

len

Vision
and values

Strategic

sis

Focuses

Em

Engaging and working


with the community

Relationa

hip

Leading the management


of the school

ers

Leading improvement,
innovation and change

Operation

ad

Developing self
and others

Le

sl
en
s

Leading teaching
and learning

Systemic

Leadership Requirements lens

Knowledge and
understanding

Personal qualities, social


and interpersonal skills

The Standard describes five Professional Practices


particular to the role of
Focuses
the principal:
Leading teaching and learning
Developing self and others
Leading improvement, innovation and change
Leading the management of the school
Engaging and working with the community

You can view the Leadership Profiles through the Professional Practices lens in the following ways:
within the Professional Practices section, pages 15-19 of this document
through the Summary Table at the end of this document and online aitsl.edu.au/leadership-profiles
through the Interactive Leadership Profiles aitsl.edu.au/leadership-profiles/interactive-profiles

14

Australian Professional Standard for Principals and the Leadership Profiles

Professional Practice: Leading teaching and learning


Description
Principals create a positive culture of challenge and support, enabling effective
teaching that promotes enthusiastic, independent learners, committed to lifelong
learning. Principals have a key responsibility for developing a culture of effective
teaching, for leading, designing and managing the quality of teaching and learning
and for students achievement in all aspects of their development. They set high
expectations for the whole school through careful collaborative planning, monitoring
and reviewing the effectiveness of learning. Principals set high standards of behaviour
and attendance, encouraging active engagement and a strong student voice.

Leading teaching and learning Profile


Principals ensure the school
Principals prioritise creating
values underpin and support
and sustaining a studenthigh-quality inclusive practices
centred learning environment.
and set expectations that all
They motivate staff to keep
activities are focused on improving
their teaching practice current
student learning outcomes. They
through use of research and
keep up-to-date with and share
new technologies. They develop
current developments in pedagogy
a robust approach to reviewing
and student engagement with all
the curriculum and pedagogy
staff. They lead staff and students in
to ensure a consistently
identifying and planning high-quality
high-quality environment for
teaching and learning.
learning. They develop a
coaching culture that
encourages honest feedback
to and from students and
teachers based on evidence.

Principals lead a school-wide


Principals lead high aspirations
focus on individual student
in learning and inspire the same
achievement, implementing
in students, staff and parents.
strategies that secure
They establish systematic
educational provision for all.
methods for collecting and
They ensure that reflective
interpreting evidence to
practices, structured feedback,
identify excellent teaching
peer review and use of
and learning, and share
the Australian Professional
successful strategies with
Standards for Teachers lead
the school community.
to personal improvement of
They encourage staff to
both students and staff. They
contribute to education
systematically monitor and
networks, supporting the
report on student progress
learning of others and
and have interventions in place
development of pedagogy.
to reduce gaps in attainment.
They model collaborative
They communicate high
leadership and engage
aspirations and expectations
with other schools and
for all, celebrate success and
organisations to share
challenge underperformance.
and improve practice and
encourage innovation in the
education system.

Developmental pathway: a principals increasing proficiency

Australian Professional Standard for Principals and the Leadership Profiles

15

Professional Practice: Developing self and others


Description
Principals work with and through others to build a professional learning community
that is focused on continuous improvement of teaching and learning. Through
managing performance, effective continuing professional learning and feedback,
they support all staff to achieve high standards and develop their leadership capacity.
Principals support others to build capacity and treat people fairly and with respect.
They model effective leadership and are committed to their own ongoing professional
development and personal health and wellbeing in order to manage the complexity of
the role and the range of learning capabilities and actions required of the role.

Developing self and others Profile


Principals promote the benefits
of professional learning to all staff
and ensure that their willingness
and efforts to learn and improve
are recognised. They develop
and implement a personal and
organisational vision that links all
learning and development activities
to better outcomes for students.
They work with staff to identify
and prioritise their professional
learning needs based on any gaps
between the requirements of their
roles and their current knowledge,
understanding and skills. They
model personal and professional
learning that is clearly linked to
school goals and seek support
from others as appropriate.

Principals seek leadership


potential in others and
provide opportunities for their
development. They identify
and implement professional
learning opportunities with
staff that are aligned with staff
learning plans and school
priorities. They consistently
apply effective performance
and development processes
so that success is celebrated,
underperformance
addressed and complacency
challenged. They provide
staff with regular and
effective feedback on their
performance, determining
together how they can
improve and remove any
obstacles to learning.

Principals build capacity


Principals create challenging
by creating a culture of
roles, responsibilities and
empowerment, responsibility
opportunities for senior leaders
and self-directed research
that leverage and grow their
that leads to the development
talents. They build and sustain
of a professional learning
a coaching and mentoring
community. They model the
culture at all levels in the
importance of health and
school and have a system of
wellbeing, watch for signs
peer review and feedback
of stress in self and others
in place. They mentor other
and take action to address it.
principals to support their
They modify their leadership
growth and development
behaviour based on learning
and help them to address
from experience and feedback
issues. They seek
from colleagues. They evaluate
opportunities for professional
whether professional learning
growth through engaging
undertaken by self and staff
in state, national and global
has had the desired impact on
educational developments.
students and has been shared
with others.

Developmental pathway: a principals increasing proficiency

16

Australian Professional Standard for Principals and the Leadership Profiles

Professional Practice: Leading improvement,


innovation and change
Description
Principals work with others to produce and implement clear, evidence-based
improvement plans and policies for the development of the school and its facilities.
They recognise that a crucial part of the role is to lead and manage innovation and
change to ensure the vision and strategic plan is put into action across the school
and that its goals and intentions are realised.

Leading improvement, innovation and change Profile


Principals identify the need for
Principals develop a process
Principals maintain their
innovation and improvement that
and common language for
values whilst adapting
is consistent with the schools
change, which supports the
flexibly and strategically to
vision and values and is informed
implementation of the vision and
changes in the environment,
by student learning outcomes.
strategic plan. They evaluate
in order to secure the ongoing
They communicate the need
outcomes and refine actions as
improvement of the school.
for change to the whole-school
change is implemented, paying
They lead and implement
community in an inspirational and
attention to social, political
the appropriate use of new
logical way. They deepen their own
and local circumstances.
technologies in all aspects of
knowledge and understanding of
They take account of the
the schools development.
improvement strategies, leading
impact of change on others,
They build a culture of trust
change and innovation at a wholeproviding opportunities for
and collaboration where
school level. They engage and
regular feedback so that
change and innovation
inspire staff to commit to evidencechange is owned by the school
based on research and
based improvement, change and
community. They distribute
evidence can flourish. They
innovation that has a positive impact
leadership and encourage
embed collaborative and
on student learning.
staff to build consensus across
creative practices in the
the school community and to
school, allowing everyone to
take individual responsibility for
contribute to improvement and
implementing change.
innovation.

Principals embed a culture


of continuous improvement,
ensuring research, innovation
and creativity are core
characteristics of the school.
They lead educational
networks by trialling and
exploring new ideas for the
system, acting as a guide,
coach and mentor to staff
and colleagues. They
evaluate the personal and
organisational effects of
change through regular
feedback from stakeholders
and evidence of impact on
student outcomes. They
develop an innovative and
outward-focused role as a
leader influencing school
excellence across the system.

Developmental pathway: a principals increasing proficiency

Australian Professional Standard for Principals and the Leadership Profiles

17

Professional Practice: Leading the management of


the school
Description
Principals use a range of data management methods and technologies to ensure that
the schools resources and staff are efficiently organised and managed to provide
an effective and safe learning environment as well as value for money. This includes
appropriate delegation of tasks to members of the staff and the monitoring of
accountabilities. Principals ensure these accountabilities are met. They seek to build
a successful school through effective collaboration with school boards, governing
bodies, parents and others. They use a range of technologies effectively and
efficiently to manage the school.

Leading the management of the school Profile


Principals align management
Principals embed effective
Principals ensure management
Principals identify trends and
procedures and processes to the
decision-making processes
procedures are fully
influences that will have an
educational goals and the vision
and build a cohesive leadership
understood by staff who take
impact upon the management
and values of the school. They
team. They analyse what data
collective responsibility for the
of the school and plan for them.
ensure employment practices
is important and plan how it
smooth and efficient running of
They review the effectiveness
and decisions are consistent with
should be used in the support of
the school. They introduce best
of processes and use of
legislative requirements. They
student learning outcomes. They
practice in human resource
data to improve school
allocate resources effectively to
make best use of technology
management to ensure the
performance. They share
maintain the day-to-day operations
to record, analyse and share
school can attract, retain and
best management practice
of the school and evaluate impact
information, to monitor progress
motivate all staff. They review
and use of resources
on student outcomes and value
against goals, and support
and improve plans regularly
with other schools and
for money. They clarify for staff the
new ways of working. They
with the schools governing
education networks. They
relationship between the schools
model exemplary professional
body so that the schools vision
embed a culture of review,
vision and values and the operational
behaviour and promote ethical
can be realised. They use a
responsibility and shared
tasks that support them.
standards throughout the school
consultative approach with
accountability to achieve
community.
students, staff and the wider
high standards for all.
school community to develop
formal strategic plans.

Developmental pathway: a principals increasing proficiency

18

Australian Professional Standard for Principals and the Leadership Profiles

Professional Practice: Engaging and working with


the community
Description
Principals embrace inclusion and help build a culture of high expectations that
takes account of the richness and diversity of the wider school community and the
education systems and sectors. They develop and maintain positive partnerships
with students, families and carers and all those associated with the wider school
community. They create an ethos of respect taking account of the spiritual, moral,
social and physicalhealth and wellbeing of students. They promote sound lifelong
learning from preschool through to adult life. They recognise the multicultural nature
of Australias people. They foster understanding and reconciliation with Indigenous
cultures. They recognise and use the rich and diverse linguistic and cultural resources
in the school community. They recognise and support the needs of students, families
and carers from communities facing complex challenges.

Engaging and working with the community Profile


Principals promote parental
Principals draw on expertise
and carer engagement as a
from other organisations to
key aspect of raising the
enhance and enrich the learning
achievement of all students.
experience for students and
They support the development of
their families. They encourage
a strong school governing body
the community to use school
that is truly representative of the
facilities in order to strengthen
community. They lead an inclusive
community engagement with
curriculum and school culture that
the school. They identify and
promotes understanding of and
implement strategies to meet
respect for Aboriginal and Torres
the diverse needs of students
Strait Islander histories, cultures and
and their families, challenge low
languages and other culturally and
expectations and close gaps in
linguistically diverse communities.
achievement for specific groups.
They build partnerships with the
They understand the strengths
local community and external
and needs of their communities,
stakeholders so they are aware of
promoting high expectations
the vision and values of the school
and achievement for all.
and can contribute to its success.

Principals work with other


agencies to support the
health, wellbeing and safety
of students and their families.
They create specific strategies
for hard-to-reach parents and
carers, and explore the use
of technology to deepen the
engagement of parents and
carers in student learning.
They establish innovative
processes to gather regular
feedback from families and
the local community that is
systematically used to review
school practices and inform
decision-making.

Principals lead the school as


an inclusive outward-facing
organisation. They link with
and provide support to
other schools in effective
community and family
engagement. They draw on
best practice nationally and
internationally to embed a
culture of inclusion and high
expectations for all and take
steps to tackle the effects of
disadvantage on learning.
They develop a mutually
supportive, collaborative
and trusting relationship with
the community to ensure
engagement in the life of
the school. They collaborate
effectively with other schools
and agencies to promote an
excellent education system in
which all young people can
thrive.

Developmental pathway: a principals increasing proficiency

Australian Professional Standard for Principals and the Leadership Profiles

19

The Standards three Leadership


Requirements and their Profiles

cti
ce
Pra
sio
na
l

len

Pro
fes

Focuses

Focuses

Strategic

sis

Vision
and values

a
ph
Em

Engaging and working


with the community

Relational

hip

Leading the management


of the school

ers

Leading improvement,
innovation and change

Operational

ad

Developing self
and others

Le

sl
en
s

Leading teaching
and learning

Systemic

Leadership Requirements lens

Knowledge and
understanding

Personal qualities, social


and interpersonal skills

Focuses
The Standard describes three Leadership Requirements common to all
leaders including principals:
Vision and values
Knowledge and understanding
Personal qualities, social and interpersonal skills
The following section describes each of the three Leadership Requirements.
However, for reasons of brevity the Profiles for each Leadership Requirement
are not included in the following section of the document. Instead you can
find them online at aitsl.edu.au/leadership-profiles.

You can view the Leadership Requirements lens online through the Interactive Leadership Profiles
aitsl.edu.au/leadership-profiles/interactive-profiles

20

Australian Professional Standard for Principals and the Leadership Profiles

Leadership Requirement: Vision and values


Description
Principals lead the development of the vision of the school. They are
committed to the learning and growth of young people and adults guided
by fairness, ethical practice, democratic values and lifelong learning.
Principals understand, lead, mediate and serve the best interests of the
community. This resonates through the strategic vision, school culture,
traditions and positive ethos they seek to promote across the school. They
insist upon high standards and foster respect across the whole school
community.
Principals model learning for life through their own professional
practice and promote it actively in their interaction with students, staff,
families and carers, and the wider community.
Principals inspire and motivate children and young people, staff and the
school community and its partners, and set high standards for every
learner, including students, staff and self.
Principals behave with integrity underpinned by moral purpose. They
model values and ethical perspectives in relation to their own and the
schools practice and organisation. They promote democratic values
including active citizenship and inclusion.

Australian Professional Standard for Principals and the Leadership Profiles

21

Leadership Requirement: Knowledge and


understanding
Description
Principals understand the practice and theory of contemporary leadership
and apply that knowledge in school improvement. Principals are well
versed in the latest research and developments in pedagogy, curriculum,
assessment and reporting, and student wellbeing. They have knowledge
of relevant national policies, practices and initiatives as well as relevant
federal and state legislation, agreements and policies. They understand
the implications of child safety, health and wellbeing, human resource
management, financial management and accountability, and other
legislative and policy requirements in relation to serving their community
and broader society.
Principals have a current knowledge and understanding of research
into teaching, learning and child development and how to apply such
research to the needs of the students in the school. This includes the
management of performance in the school and strategies to improve
practice.
Principals apply knowledge and understanding of current developments
in education policy, schooling and social and environmental trends
and developments to improve educational opportunities in the school.
Principals work collaboratively with their school boards, governing
bodies and others to achieve this.
Principals apply knowledge and understanding of leadership, and
management concepts and practice, to deliver with others effective
strategic leadership and operational management.

22

Australian Professional Standard for Principals and the Leadership Profiles

Leadership Requirement: Personal qualities,


social and interpersonal skills
Description
This requirement recognises the importance of emotional intelligence,
empathy, resilience and personal wellbeing in the leadership and
management of the school and its community. Principals regularly review
their practice and implement change in their leadership and management
approaches to suit the situation. They manage themselves well and use
ethical practices and social skills to deal with conflict effectively. They are
able to build trust across the school community and to create a positive
learning atmosphere for students and staff, and within the community in
which they work.
Principals are able to define challenges clearly and seek positive
solutions, often in collaboration with others. They know when decisions
are required and are able to use the available evidence and information
to support, inform and communicate their decisions.
Principals can communicate, negotiate, collaborate and advocate
effectively and relate well to all in the schools community. They are
good listeners and coaches, clear in responding and able to give and
receive feedback.
Principals take account of the social, political and local circumstances
within which they work. They continuously improve their networking and
influencing skills.

Australian Professional Standard for Principals and the Leadership Profiles

23

Leadership Profiles through


the Leadership Emphasis lens

len
es
tic
rac
sio
na
lP

len

Pro
fes

Focuses

Focuses

is
s

Vision
and values

Strategic

as

Engaging and working


with the community

ph
Em

Leading the management


of the school

Relational

hip

Leading improvement,
innovation and change

Operational

e rs
ad

Developing self
and others

Le

Leading teaching
and learning

Systemic

Leadership Requirements lens

Knowledge and
understanding

Personal qualities, social


and interpersonal skills

In addition to the Professional Practices and Leadership Requirements of


Focuses
the Standard,
the Profiles provide a view of practice through a third lens,
Leadership Emphasis:
Operational
Relational
Strategic
Systemic
The Leadership Emphasis lens reflects the dynamic nature of the school
leadership context. Leaders actions and leadership style depend on
the context in which they operate, with multiple factors influencing
their leadership emphasis. This lens enables principals to locate and
understand their practice according to their career stage, capability and
context. Principals are more likely to draw on an operational emphasis at
the beginning of their leadership and move through the range of emphases
to apply a more systemic leadership emphasis as their experience, skills
and knowledge grow.
However, that is not always the case because context often affects
the choice of leadership emphasis. Changed circumstances, such as
appointment to a new school or implementation of a new policy directive,
demand that leaders suit their leadership to their situation. Effective
principals will apply the appropriate leadership emphasis that a school
context demands.

24

Australian Professional Standard for Principals and the Leadership Profiles

The following section describes each focus of the Leadership Emphasis


lens. For reasons of brevity, the Profiles for each focus are not included in
this document. Instead, they can be found online at
aitsl.edu.au/leadership-profiles.

Operational

Principals leading with an operational focus tend to concentrate on the


communications, organisation and resource management required within
the school to maintain the smooth and effective running of day-to-day
operations.

Relational

Principals leading with a relational focus tend to concentrate on


consultation and feedback, in order to establish, develop and enhance
relationships with students, staff, community and other stakeholders, both
internal and external to the school, to ensure a shared culture and vision.

Strategic

Principals leading with a strategic focus are deliberate about optimising


relational, organisational and management thinking to effect and monitor
change, in order to realise short and long term school goals.

Systemic

Principals leading with a systemic focus objectively assess their own and
the schools effectiveness, and work to build networks, collaborate with
educational groups, and make connections beyond their own school and
system to influence and lead educational impact.

You can view the Leadership Emphasis lens online through the Interactive Leadership Profiles
aitsl.edu.au/leadership-profiles/interactive-profiles

Australian Professional Standard for Principals and the Leadership Profiles

25

How school leaders and the wider


education sector can use the Profiles

Self-reflection
The most effective leaders prioritise their own growth and development.
Some of the most powerful learning will occur through day-to-day
experience. However, those leaders who reflect on their actions and
impact, and seek out others from whom they can learn, will make the most
progress in increasing their leadership effectiveness.
Principals who continually learn and adapt are more able to manage the
complexity of leading twenty-first century schools. Leaders can use the
Profiles to assist them to reflect on their skills and abilities and plan their
growth.

Professional growth
The most effective principals learn continuously and have conversations
with others about their performance and the performance of the school.
Leaders can use the Profiles to:
provide a basis for a professional learning and development
conversation
develop a personal profile which acknowledges strengths and defines
objectives and goals for growth
guide the choice of professional learning activity that will best support
their own development.

Professional learning programs


Professional learning can take many forms formal to informal, local to
international, single one-off programs to ongoing enquiry, personal to
group. Leaders can use the Profiles to:
audit their own learning needs and create professional learning
opportunities focused on building specific expertise
develop programs to implement with a coach or mentor
work with colleagues and/or networks to develop shared professional
learning programs
identify and showcase effective leadership practice for use in
professional learning.

26

Australian Professional Standard for Principals and the Leadership Profiles

Selection and recruitment


Appointing a principal can be a daunting task for local governing bodies.
They may only do it once in their tenure. The Standard and Profiles provide
a guide for them to know the demands of the principal role and enables
them to make more informed decisions around their leadership selection
task. Leaders can use the Profiles to:
help the school community and those on interview panels understand
the role of the principal
design position descriptions, selection questions and interview
exercises for leadership recruitment processes.

Talent development and succession


Growing the next generation of leaders by motivating, inspiring and
deliberately building leadership capacity in others is one of the most
important roles of school and system leaders. Leaders can use the
Profiles to:
assist aspiring principals to understand the depth and breadth of the
leadership role
provide a framework for targeted leadership development opportunities
for aspirant principals
provide a basis for coaching and mentoring of aspirant principals.

Performance review
Using the Profiles as the basis of performance review for school leaders
ensures a transparent developmental focus. It will enable systems and
sectors to align with the Leadership Requirements and Professional
Practices of the Standard to improve the performance of their school
leaders. This will assist to:
link a systems strategic organisational objectives for school leadership
to the Standard and Profiles
enhance coherence and clarity around system and sector leadership
understandings and expectations
connect performance reviews and related professional learning plans
with the Standard and Profiles.

Australian Professional Standard for Principals and the Leadership Profiles

27

Leadership Profiles Summary Table

28

Australian Professional Standard for Principals and the Leadership Profiles

Leadership Profiles - Professional Practices lens


Focus

Practice description

Profile

Taken from the Australian Professional Standard for Principals

Developmental pathway: a principals increasing proficiency

Leading
teaching
and learning

Principals create a positive culture of challenge and support,


enabling effective teaching that promotes enthusiastic,
independent learners, committed to lifelong learning.
Principals have a key responsibility for developing a culture
of effective teaching, for leading, designing and managing
the quality of teaching and learning, and for students
achievement in all aspects of their development. They set
high expectations for the whole school through careful
collaborative planning, monitoring and reviewing the
effectiveness of learning. Principals set high standards of
behaviour and attendance, encouraging active engagement
and a strong student voice.

Principals ensure the school values underpin


and support high-quality inclusive practices and
set expectations that all activities are focused on
improving student learning outcomes. They keep
up-to-date with and share current developments in
pedagogy and student engagement with all staff. They
lead staff and students in identifying and planning
high-quality teaching and learning.

Principals prioritise creating and sustaining a


student-centred learning environment. They motivate
staff to keep their teaching practice current through
use of research and new technologies. They develop
a robust approach to reviewing the curriculum and
pedagogy to ensure a consistently high-quality
environment for learning. They develop a coaching
culture that encourages honest feedback to and from
students and teachers based on evidence.

Principals lead a school-wide focus on individual


student achievement, implementing strategies that
secure educational provision for all. They ensure that
reflective practices, structured feedback, peer review
and use of the Australian Professional Standards for
Teachers lead to personal improvement of both
students and staff. They systematically monitor and
report on student progress and have interventions
in place to reduce gaps in attainment. They
communicate high aspirations and expectations
for all, celebrate success and challenge
underperformance.

Principals lead high aspirations in learning and inspire


the same in students, staff and parents. They establish
systematic methods for collecting and interpreting
evidence to identify excellent teaching and learning,
and share successful strategies with the school
community. They encourage staff to contribute to
education networks, supporting the learning of
others and development of pedagogy. They model
collaborative leadership and engage with other
schools and organisations to share and improve
practice and encourage innovation in the education
system.

Developing
self and
others

Principals work with and through others to build a


professional learning community that is focused on
continuous improvement of teaching and learning. Through
managing performance, effective continuing professional
learning and feedback, they support all staff to achieve high
standards and develop their leadership capacity. Principals
support others to build capacity and treat people fairly
and with respect. They model effective leadership and are
committed to their own ongoing professional development
and personal health and wellbeing in order to manage the
complexity of the role and the range of learning capabilities
and actions required of the role.

Principals promote the benefits of professional


learning to all staff and ensure that their willingness
and efforts to learn and improve are recognised. They
develop and implement a personal and organisational
vision that links all learning and development activities
to better outcomes for students. They work with staff to
identify and prioritise their professional learning needs
based on any gaps between the requirements of their
roles and their current knowledge, understanding and
skills. They model personal and professional learning
that is clearly linked to school goals and seek support
from others as appropriate.

Principals seek leadership potential in others


and provide opportunities for their development.
They identify and implement professional
learning opportunities with staff that are aligned
with staff learning plans and school priorities.
They consistently apply effective performance
and development processes so that success
is celebrated, underperformance addressed
and complacency challenged. They provide
staff with regular and effective feedback on their
performance, determining together how they can
improve and remove any obstacles to learning.

Principals build capacity by creating a culture of


empowerment, responsibility and self-directed
research that leads to the development of a
professional learning community. They model
the importance of health and wellbeing, watch for
signs of stress in self and others and take action to
address it. They modify their leadership behaviour
based on learning from experience and feedback
from colleagues. They evaluate whether professional
learning undertaken by self and staff has had the
desired impact on students and has been shared
with others.

Principals create challenging roles, responsibilities and


opportunities for senior leaders that leverage and grow
their talents. They build and sustain a coaching and
mentoring culture at all levels in the school and have
a system of peer review and feedback in place. They
mentor other principals to support their growth and
development and help them to address issues. They
seek opportunities for professional growth through
engaging in state, national and global educational
developments.

Leading
improvement,
innovation
and change

Principals work with others to produce and implement clear,


evidence-based improvement plans and policies for the
development of the school and its facilities. They recognise
that a crucial part of the role is to lead and manage
innovation and change to ensure the vision and strategic
plan is put into action across the school and that its goals
and intentions are realised.

Principals identify the need for innovation and


improvement that is consistent with the schools
vision and values and is informed by student learning
outcomes. They communicate the need for change
to the whole-school community in an inspirational
and logical way. They deepen their own knowledge
and understanding of improvement strategies, leading
change and innovation at a whole-school level. They
engage and inspire staff to commit to evidence-based
improvement, change and innovation that has a
positive impact on student learning.

Principals develop a process and common language


for change, which supports the implementation of the
vision and strategic plan. They evaluate outcomes
and refine actions as change is implemented, paying
attention to social, political and local circumstances.
They take account of the impact of change on others,
providing opportunities for regular feedback so that
change is owned by the school community. They
distribute leadership and encourage staff to build
consensus across the school community and to take
individual responsibility for implementing change.

Principals maintain their values whilst adapting


flexibly and strategically to changes in the
environment, in order to secure the ongoing
improvement of the school. They lead and
implement the appropriate use of new technologies
in all aspects of the schools development. They
build a culture of trust and collaboration where
change and innovation based on research and
evidence can flourish. They embed collaborative
and creative practices in the school, allowing
everyone to contribute to improvement and
innovation.

Principals embed a culture of continuous improvement,


ensuring research, innovation and creativity are core
characteristics of the school. They lead educational
networks by trialling and exploring new ideas for the
system, acting as a guide, coach and mentor to staff
and colleagues. They evaluate the personal and
organisational effects of change through regular
feedback from stakeholders and evidence of impact
on student outcomes. They develop an innovative
and outward-focused role as a leader influencing
school excellence across the system.

Leading the
management
of the school

Principals use a range of data management methods and


technologies to ensure that the schools resources and
staff are efficiently organised and managed to provide an
effective and safe learning environment as well as value
for money. This includes appropriate delegation of tasks to
members of the staff and the monitoring of accountabilities.
Principals ensure these accountabilities are met. They seek
to build a successful school through effective collaboration
with school boards, governing bodies, parents and others.
They use a range of technologies effectively and efficiently
to manage the school.

Principals align management procedures and


processes to the educational goals and the vision
and values of the school. They ensure employment
practices and decisions are consistent with legislative
requirements. They allocate resources effectively to
maintain the day-to-day operations of the school and
evaluate impact on student outcomes and value for
money. They clarify for staff the relationship between
the schools vision and values and the operational
tasks that support them.

Principals embed effective decision-making processes


and build a cohesive leadership team. They analyse
what data is important and plan how it should be
used in the support of student learning outcomes.
They make best use of technology to record, analyse
and share information, to monitor progress against
goals, and support new ways of working. They model
exemplary professional behaviour and promote ethical
standards throughout the school community.

Principals ensure management procedures are


fully understood by staff who take collective
responsibility for the smooth and efficient running of
the school. They introduce best practice in human
resource management to ensure the school can
attract, retain and motivate all staff. They review and
improve plans regularly with the schools governing
body so that the schools vision can be realised.
They use a consultative approach with students, staff
and the wider school community to develop formal
strategic plans.

Principals identify trends and influences that will have an


impact upon the management of the school and plan
for them. They review the effectiveness of processes
and use of data to improve school performance.
They share best management practice and use
of resources with other schools and education
networks. They embed a culture of review,
responsibility and shared accountability to achieve
high standards for all.

Engaging
and working
with the
community

Principals embrace inclusion and help build a culture of


high expectations that takes account of the richness and
diversity of the wider school community and the education
systems and sectors. They develop and maintain positive
partnerships with students, families and carers and all
those associated with the wider school community. They
create an ethos of respect taking account of the spiritual,
moral, social and physicalhealth and wellbeing of students.
They promote sound lifelong learning from preschool
through to adult life. They recognise the multicultural
nature of Australias people. They foster understanding and
reconciliation with Indigenous cultures. They recognise and
use the rich and diverse linguistic and cultural resources
in the school community. They recognise and support the
needs of students, families and carers from communities
facing complex challenges.

Principals promote parental and carer engagement


as a key aspect of raising the achievement of all
students. They support the development of a strong
school governing body that is truly representative
of the community. They lead an inclusive curriculum
and school culture that promotes understanding of
and respect for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
histories, cultures and languages and other culturally
and linguistically diverse communities. They build
partnerships with the local community and external
stakeholders so they are aware of the vision and values
of the school and can contribute to its success.

Principals draw on expertise from other organisations


to enhance and enrich the learning experience
for students and their families. They encourage
the community to use school facilities in order to
strengthen community engagement with the school.
They identify and implement strategies to meet the
diverse needs of students and their families, challenge
low expectations and close gaps in achievement
for specific groups. They understand the strengths
and needs of their communities, promoting high
expectations and achievement for all.

Principals work with other agencies to support the


health, wellbeing and safety of students and their
families. They create specific strategies for hard-toreach parents and carers, and explore the use of
technology to deepen the engagement of parents
and carers in student learning. They establish
innovative processes to gather regular feedback
from families and the local community that is
systematically used to review school practices and
inform decision-making.

Principals lead the school as an inclusive outwardfacing organisation. They link with and provide support
to other schools in effective community and family
engagement. They draw on best practice nationally and
internationally to embed a culture of inclusion and high
expectations for all and take steps to tackle the effects
of disadvantage on learning. They develop a mutually
supportive, collaborative and trusting relationship
with the community to ensure engagement in the
life of the school. They collaborate effectively with
other schools and agencies to promote an excellent
education system in which all young people can
thrive.

aitsl.edu.au
Further information
Telephone: +61 3 9944 1200
Email: info@aitsl.edu.au
Melbourne | Canberra
AITSL is funded by the Australian Government
ISBN 978-1-925192-13-1
Updated June 2015